This season, Inspiration takes you behind the scenes of the Monte-Carlo Catering team, Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer’s tailor-made catering service. In this new edition, Thomas Subrin, Meilleur Ouvrier de France and head baker, tells all about using Moulin des Gaults flour and the in-house bakery at Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer that opened this year.
What is the overall concept behind the creation of a “centralised” bakery at Monte‑Carlo Société des Bains de Mer?
Thomas Subrin: Before, each establishment bought from other companies. For some years now, Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer has been interested in starting in-house production. I came on-board in January for this purpose. The idea was to centralise the bakery to guarantee top quality for our restaurants, hotels and events.
Having bread made solely for these establishments also creates a signature…
T. S.: For us, what matters is that the customer eats good bread. It has to taste good and also be nutritious. That’s why carefully choosing the ingredients is so important. We also want to reflect the high expectations for bread at the group’s various establishments as part of the luxury hospitality industry.
So, the selected ingredients have to be from a high-quality supplier…
T. S.: We are supplied by Maison Foricher, at Moulin des Gaults, in Loiret. It’s a magical place, in a fresh, green space. Some of their flour is organic and the rest adheres to CRC — a certification for sustainable, environmentally-friendly farming similar to the organic certification. Everything is made from French wheat. We also order their rye flour and gluten-free flours, like buckwheat, or ancient grain flours, like spelt or kamut. In addition to their products, we chose people and a philosophy: they are there to help us and explain the characteristics of a flour from new harvests. I appreciate this supplier’s values, commitment to working with artisans and emphasis on quality over quantity.
How do you work with these excellent flours?
T. S.: Since they are 100% additive-free flours, we have to go back to basics: we have to pay more attention to the dough, “listen” to the flour throughout the day, essentially revert to traditional baking, which requires, in addition to the ingredients, a special touch. We are a team of 21 bakers who rotate over the course of 22-hour days: the demands of the hospitality industry require us to check on the dough and bread throughout the day.
You have created products specifically for Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer, like the baguettine…
T. S.: Yes, we make it often for catering, at outside events like the Jardins des Boulingrins picnic or for meals at Le Grill during special lunches, to name a few recent examples. It is made of traditional flour and rye flour. It weighs 25 grams and due to its lightness, a delicate touch is required to prepare it.
For customers who need catering, what do you offer?
T. S.: We have created options specifically for this. When a client comes for a tasting, we offer bread in addition to appetizers, main courses and desserts. They can then choose between these products: traditional baguette, of course, which often appeals to our international clientele, country bread, olive bread, raisin bread, nut bread or sourdough bread. We can then adapt to our client’s tastes.
What is your philosophy as head baker?
T. S.: Creating healthy bread, with processes and temperatures that were traditionally used in our field, for a result that is as enjoyable as possible, thanks to fermentation and monitoring dough in our laboratory. Secondly, working as a team, teaching young people, helping them develop at the company… People are very important: our team was put together for the opening in May, we have gotten to know each other, and now we understand each other and communicate well. It’s a family, for whom I’m always available. Using artisanal methods, we make an average of 7,000-8,000 products, 2,000-4,000 of which are pastries — a challenge that requires teamwork!
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